South Korea has launched a new business initiative as it continues to raise its profile in the international development community. The Korean government has tapped the private sector to help by launching the “Development Alliance Korea,” the first cooperative network between the government and various private partners in the field of overseas aid.
During the ceremony, representatives from eight organizations – the Korea NGO Council for Overseas Cooperation, the Federation of Korean Industries, the Korean Council for University Education, the Korea Association of International Development and Cooperation, the Global Compact Network Korea, the UN Academic Impact Korea, the Foreign Ministry and the Korea International Cooperation Agency – signed an agreement to form the Alliance. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, Chairman Ahn Hong-joon of the National Assembly’s Foreign Affairs, Trade, and Unification Committee, and Co-chairs of the UN-MDGs Forum Lee Ju-young and Lee Nak-yun all delivered addresses.
The Alliance is designed as part of an effort to implement the commitments of the “Busan Global Partnership,” which was launched in June. The network carries significance as a close partnership forged between the government and the private sector in the field of international development cooperation. Korea is a seen as a new player in international aid but has been active since 1991, especially in the country’s relationship with North Korea.
The World Toilet Organization, based in Singapore, is an excellent example of how marketing and humour can address even the most embarrassing and difficult of problems. Access to clean and working toilets in many part sof the world is a major problem, with causal effects for some of the worst health and environment problems.
According to the WTO, nearly 40% of the world’s population are without sanitation. At the current rate of progress there will be 2.7 billion people without access to basic sanitation. A recent New York Times article reported that more than half of households in India lacked a toilet, a rate that has worsened in the past decade despite India’s growing wealth, as slums and other substandard housing have proliferated in growing cities.
The WTO aims to improve sanitation conditions for people globally through powerful advocacy, inventive technology, education and building marketplace opportunities locally. They do this by making toilets socially desirable and discussions of human hygiene easier through humour. At the recent INSEAD Social Entrepreneurship Conference in Jakarta, Jack Sim told GC he “works with assholes all day long” and “talks shit to anyone who will listen”. Jack is a man on a mission and so far has managed to combine great marketing with innovative supply chain and local technology partnerships.
In his piece in Foreign Policy, John Norris takes a look at how Rajiv Shah, USAID administrator, is fighting to make U.S. foreign aid programs less dependent on American for-profit contractors. At the same time, Shah is aiming to roughly double the amount of assistance that flows directly to governments, entrepreneurs, educational institutions, and NGOs in the developing world.
The 10 largest USAID contractors received more than US$3.19 billion in 2011, and more than 27 per cent of the agency’s funding was directed to American for-profit firms. If the for-profit contractor Chemonics were a country, it would have been the third-largest recipient of USAID funding in the world in 2011, behind only Afghanistan and Haiti.
The theory behind supporting local institutions is that if the goal of development is to build sustainable local capacity and ownership, developing countries should play a larger role in solving their own problems. This is seen as good development policy and it has the potential to save American taxpayers money through reducing spending. USAID hopes to reach its target of 30 per cent of its aid being channeled directly to local organizations in the developing world by 2015. Shah’s aggressive plan faces possible opposition should there be a change of government after the US elections in November. For-profit contractors have always had their strongest allies in the Republican party.
There is an opportunity for those organisations seeking to work with USAID to align themselves with this new agenda. By focusing on building capacity and local partnerships as much as how they deliver services, for-profit and not-for-profit organizations will be more likely to secure USAID support in the future.
Information and communications technologies (ICTs), such as mobile phones, computers and the Internet, are rapidly expanding the volume of information available to previously disconnected communities. These technologies are also expanding access to opportunities, including income through entrepreneurship. The right technology in the hands of a woman entrepreneur yields economic and social benefits for not just her, but her family, community and country. According to a study in India from the International Center for Research on Women (ICRW), ICTs can catalyze women’s economic advancement by improving business practices, and breaking traditional gender barriers at home and in the marketplace. But the private sector in India is only just beginning to see women as consumers; it has not yet realized the potential women entrepreneurs hold as a vibrant business market.
To better understand how ICTs can support women, the ICRW research centered on how mobile phones, the Internet and computers can increase the ability to generate income. One of the key findings is that mobile phones, more so than computers or the Internet, allow women to build business success. Also, ICTs are most effective at helping women entrepreneurs save time and access new markets. Mobile phones allow women to eliminate travel, multitask and coordinate business with domestic responsibilities. According to the ICRW, future interventions should make women a core part of business strategies, design policies that incentivize public-private partnerships, and draw on the expertise and experience of local organizations that are already working to provide poor women with income-generating opportunities.
Posted in Ideas, Resources
Tagged business, digital, economy, entrepreneurship, gender, India, innovation, mobile, technology, women
Courtesy of MFAN
USAID has released its Climate Change and Development Strategy 2012-16 as part of President Obama’s Global Climate Change Initiative (GCCI). As part of the GCCI, the US Government said it would work with partners to provide “fast start” climate finance approaching $30 billion. Coordinated by Kit Batten, USAID Global Climate Change Coordinator, the strategy aims to support strategies to advance “clean development” in poor countries. Overall, it has been met positively by many in the development community.
To date, the GCCI has used a range of mechanisms – bilateral, multilateral and private – to build resilience to unavoidable climate impacts; reduce emissions from deforestation and land degradation; and support low-carbon development strategies and the transition to a clean energy economy. Two examples of USAID projects are:
Clean energy in India: $9 million leveraged $200 million in private sector investment, to bring online 381 megawatts of new electricity generation capacity using bagasse—a biofuel made from sugar cane waste—reducing carbon dioxide emissions by 26 million tons. This technology was then adopted by six more Indian power plants.
Avoiding deforestation in Indonesia: the US Government is combatting illegal logging, improving forest management and conservation, and reducing greenhouse gas emissions.